What Is The Vehicle Lemon Law?

A lemon law is any statute that provides a consumer with recourse should they buy a product that fails to live up to the performance and/or quality that was promised by the manufacturer. The federal law is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, every state also has written specific lemon laws. The lemon law applies to numerous consumer goods that were accompanied by a warranty but the term is most often used when discussing the purchase of a vehicle that has substantial defects.

The vehicle lemon law basically applies to new vehicles that are under warranty and have a substantial defect that cannot be repaired.

It is upsetting and stressful when you purchase a new vehicle and it keeps breaking down. If the vehicle is under warranty and the manufacturer or the authorized dealer cannot fix it you can demand a refund or a replacement. Of course, just because you say it’s a lemon doesn’t necessarily make it one in the eyes of the vehicle lemon law; there are specific parameters that apply.

  *  The defect must be substantial; it must have a detrimental impact on the vehicles safety, intended use or value.

  *  You must have had the vehicle in for repair a specific number of times, usually three or four depending on the state.

  *  The car must have been in for repairs and unavailable for use for a period of time, usually anywhere from 15 to 40 days, once again depending on the state.

Always protect yourself:

When you first take delivery of a new vehicle you have no way of knowing in advance whether it is a lemon or not. Chances are it isn’t; only about one percent of all the vehicles sold in the US are actually lemons. Nevertheless, protect yourself in the event you are amongst the one percent. Always:

  *  Put all your complaints and repair requests in writing. Always get a copy of the repair order and when the work is finished get an invoice even if there is no charge for the work done under warranty.

  *  Ensure that the work order is as you described the problem. To be a lemon, the same defect must crop up; numerous different defects that are fixed don’t count.

  *  Keep a log of the dates the car went in the shop and when it was returned as well as the mileage.

Although the manufacturer may balk at replacing the vehicle or buying it back, if you have done your job right you will get satisfaction.

Every state has a vehicle lemon law but there are variables. If you think you have bought a lemon you are invited to visit us of the law as it applies where you live.